This summer has been the craziest one yet. With our little man spending the end of spring in the NICU and then clearing out our entire tree line behind our house to make room for a new building.
We are beef farmers, in case you forgot. And up until this year we have strictly kept our cattle outside in feed lots and our breeding cows in the pasture. Which is what most farmers in our area do.
The last year or so Jason and I had been talking about how we needed to do some improvements on our property. The feed yard at our home was in need of some TLC. The fence was broken in places and we still had yet to do anything with the building we lost the roof to four or five years ago.
That’s when we both really started doing our research about new cattle practices and what was working for other farms, hoping we could find something new to implement in ours.
One of the things about our place is that we have a permit for our property to feed a certain amount of head of cattle, and with the current set up we had it just wasn’t possible to utilize all our resources.
So, after a lot of research we decided on putting up a deep-pit beef barn. Deep pit because there is a 12 foot deep pit beneath the building that contains all the manure. And well a beef barn, because we don’t plan on feeding sheep anytime soon!
I attended seminars and we called every person we knew that had a deep pit beef barn, I even asked some of my pork friends. The pork industry has actually been putting pigs in buildings for many years. Mainly because of climate control and also manure containment.
Our new building has been taking up most of our summer and has kept my hubby even busier than usual. But, it has been really neat to watch the entire process come together. And has been entertaining to listen to Elliette tell everyone that it was first going to be her swimming pool and then once the swimming pool was covered how she was going to put horses in her new barn.
Our building isn’t a fully enclosed building, but the choices we have made we have made with cattle comfort and care as our top priority. We are both excited to see and experience for ourselves the pros and cons to feeding cattle in our building versus feeding them in a dry lot. In our research we definitely believe there are positives and negatives to both, but that is the truth for most anything you do. No matter what all of our cattle will get top quality care.
A few months ago I posted this photo on Twitter- Ellie’s swimming pool.
I will say this project has been a bit of a pain for everyone with all of the rain. Jason spent a lot of time pumping water out of the pit and the guys spent a lot of time trying to get everything dry each time it rained so that the building could continue to progress.
I can’t wait to share with you the entire process, but all of those photos are on the camera and since our internet has been so spotty the last few months it may take the rest of the fall to get the photos uploaded to this blog. I really hope not, but it’s hard saying these days. I am also looking forward to sharing with you what we like about our building and what we don’t like about it, and how it compares to feeding cattle in dry lots. Either way, building or no building, it’s safe to say that as farmers we are making animal care and comfort our top priority.